Night Business #3
Benjamin Marra, writer/artist
Traditional, January 2010
About the Author:
Benjamin Marra is an artist who lives in the city. He is utterly and completely passionate about art. “Art … consumes me,” says Marra, “It is a part of my soul. When I look at a painting on the wall and I see a brush stroke, I can see the universe in it. I spend a lot of my time in galleries and museums looking around at the artworks. I like to see what’s going on in the art scene, you know, see what the new concepts are in art, see what my colleagues are up to.”
–from Night Business #3
The above text is pretty much what I love about Night Business in a nutshell. It’s simply a perfect encapsulation of a teenager and/or shut-in’s idea of what the City is. Artists who refer to themselves as such going to galleries and museums to stay on top of the activities of their cutting-edge colleagues. The glamorous, high-paying world of stripping and stripper management. Pimps who squirrel away a small army of thugs in warehouses filled with wooden crates and barrels of gasoline. Cops who thought they’d seen it all learning they haven’t, not by a long shot. One good man, pushed to the limit, taking a stand for what’s right and to hell with the consequences. Streetlight people, oh oh oh.
I don’t have the first two issues in front of me, but my impression is that this is the strongest yet on several levels. The insistent, grandiose stupidity of the writing reaches a delirious pitch here, my favorite example being the no-nonsense gun-toting would-be rapists who accost a pair of women on a thoroughfare broad and bright enough to be 14th Street: “Hey, ladies!! Are you looking for a party?!” “Hah, yeah! Are you looking for a party?! You’re invited to our party!” “We’ve got your official party invites right here! Don’t move.” “Scream and you die.” The pacing’s pretty sweet too, with the climactic fight between Johnny and the aforementioned warehouse full of thugs staged with one beat per panel, like the drum intro to “Big Bottom.” It ends with a glorious pin-up of Johnny flying through the air as he escapes an explosion, with knowingly wonky foreshortening, neatly symmetrical bursts of smoke and flame, and shiny inking showing off Marra’s studiously hidden chops despite himself. I’d kill to hang that page on my wall, let me just tell you. I’m all about seeking pleasure in comics these days, and this comic gets me off but good.